Scripture: Lectionary 186. Fri. of Second Week of Advent. Isaiah 48:17-19. Psalm 1:1-22.214.171.124. Matthew 11:16-18:
Jesus is the Master Teacher. Today he teaches us through images of contrast that reflect what was being said about the Precurson, John the Baptist and about himself. It was similar to the nasty children who mock out other children singing songs. Some were joyful and the little nasty ones refused to join in; the song was changed and they still refused to sing the dirge. You could not win with such opponents. It is a good lead in then for the Evangelist to show us how Jesus was aware of what some people (nasty ones) were saying about the Baptist. His preaching, his clothing, and his penitential behavior disturbs them so they call him a disturbed crazy man ranting in the desert and eating grasshoppers! What about Jesus? He does not fare well either. Since he is open to the unclean persons, the lepers, the tax collectors, the sinners, he is a glutton and a drunkard for he seems to be always eating with them.
We need the other readings to offset this mean spirit of the image of the uncooperative playmates and then of the nasty opponents of Jesus’ lifestyle.
Isaiah speaks God’s words to us that offset the double-tongued and hypocritical skeptics of John and Jesus. God says to all of us, “I, the Lord, your God, and lead you on the way you should go.” We are not dealing with anything nasty or mean but with the care and concern of a God who wants us to do good and to experience God’s mercy and love. If we cooperate with his words and do not make fun of them, then we will enjoy our life of love with God. God helps us to do what is right. Here we can learn how to control our tongues and our thoughts about others. Jesus shows us how to do this, Isaiah consoles us with God’s words and the Psalmist does the same.
Psalm 1 is one of my favorite. It is an introduction to the other 149 psalms and helps us to set things right in our chaotic world that is preoccupied with being nasty and haughty. This is a wisdom psalm that can easily be used at the conclusion of each day. It is a quick way of seeing whether we are good or bad for that day. Are we like the nasty children or the opponents of Jesus and the Baptist. Are we skeptics and cynics? The Psalm speaks of the blessed and happy person and shows us the right way as does Jesus and Isaiah. Even the Alleluia verse chimes in with the first reading and the Psalm: “Those who follow the Lord will have the light of life. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.